While the French island has seen occasional attacks on surfers farther out from shore, attacks on swimmers close to shore are exceedingly rare.
The regional administration for Reunion said Tuesday that the attack occurred Monday in a cove with no lifeguard at Saint-Paul, on the northwest side of the island. Reunion is east of Madagascar off the East African coast.
In a statement, the administration said the girl lived on the French mainland but was vacationing on Reunion. She was swimming with another girl who was not harmed.
Authorities warned swimmers to exercise the greatest caution in the area.
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